Peyronie’s disease, also called penile fibrosis, is a connective tissue disorder of the penis in which fibrous scar tissue inside the penis causes curved, painful erections. French surgeon, François de la Peyronie, first described Peyronie’s disease in 1743. Classified early on as a form of erectile dysfunction (ED), experts now know that ED is only one factor associated with the disease and it is not always a symptom.
What Causes Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s disease is most likely caused by minor injury to the penis. This type of injury could happen during intercourse (such as bending of the penis), and can also be caused by injury during sports or other accidents. When injured, a plaque, or hard lump, can form within the capsule around the penis. The plaque, which is actually a flat plate of scar tissue, develops inside a thick membrane (tunica albuginea), which envelopes the erectile tissues of the penis.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease
Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease may appear gradually or suddenly. Here are the most common:
- Curving of the penis during erection (can be permanent)
- Scar tissue that can be felt in the penis as flat lumps or a band of hard tissue
- Pain – with or without an erection (often decreases over time)
- Erectile dysfunction – problems getting or maintaining an erection
- Penile deformity – shortening, narrowing, or indentations in erect penis
Treatments for Peyronie’s Disease
Non-surgical treatments include medication, injections, radiation, and traction therapy. Surgical procedures include removing the plaque, plication (removing or pinching a piece of the tunica albuginea from the side of the penis to cancel out the bending effect), and penile implants to increase rigidity. Learn more about these treatments for Peyronie’s Disease.
Seek Early Treatment to Prevent Worsening Symptoms
Peyronie’s disease rarely goes away on its own. In most men, the condition will remain or worsen. Early treatment gives you the best chance to improve the condition or at least prevent it from worsening. For many men, Peyronie’s disease also causes stress and anxiety. The pain may decrease over time, but the bend in the penis may remain a problem, making sexual intercourse difficult. If the pain, curvature, length, or other deformities bother you or your partner, come see one of our urologists to learn about available treatment options.